Articles: Cooling

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During my overclocking career I have already tested over two dozens of mass-production liquid-cooling systems and only three of them turned out really worthy products. Unfortunately, these super-low “liquid-cooling systems yields” result from the manufacturers’ desire to make their solutions as simple and compact as possible. However, in this case they for some reason forget about the most important goal: to ensure high cooling efficiency at a low level of noise. Besides, note that the price of these solutions is often three pr even four times higher than that of a good air cooler that in most cases turns out more efficient and less noisy.

We would like to define what a mass-production liquid-cooling system should be like in order to successfully compete against monsters of air cooling? First, the radiator of such a system should be copper and should be able to accommodate at least two 120-mm fans, which means that in most cases it will have to be placed outside the system case. Second, the universal processor water block should also be all copper or with a clear acrylic lid over a copper base plate. Moreover, its internal structure shouldn’t be borrowed from the prehistoric water blocks of the very first liquid-cooling systems (there could at least be pins inside). Third, a system like that should come with a powerful but at the same time compact and quiet pump (Laing DDC, Mag, etc.) that can pump the liquid not only through the CPU water block, but also through the water blocks on the VGA card and mainboard chipset, if you decide to expand the system. Everything else, such as expansion tank, tubing, fittings, fans with adjustable rotation speed, decorative elements and other stuff is totally up to the manufacturer.

As you understand, even if the first three conditions are met, a liquid-cooling system like that will cost over ~$250, which limits its target user group dramatically. However, with components choices like that any liquid-cooling solution leaves no chance even to a super-efficient air-cooler. Remember Zalman Reserator XT, Koolance Exos-2 LX and Swiftech H20-220 Compact? Yes, only these three liquid-cooling systems proved more efficient than the best air-coolers.

Will our today’s hero, Thermaltake PW 850i ProWater, be able to become the fourth solution on this list? Out today’s review is going to see if it is efficient enough to meet overclockers’ needs.

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